1) Yes, the threads are "reverse" to what you normally expect.
2) Yes, there is a special wrench for the front nut. Actually, getting the old one off isn't the issue, it's getting the new one on and correctly tightened.
Mine had attempted to "mate" with the front bearing and race retainer and even the special wrench (yes I have one)wouldn't take it off but careful attention with a cold chisel and a pipe wrench did.
What happened on mine was during the "mating" process the shoulder where the wrench fits on the flats was reduced to almost nothing so no place for the wrench to fit and one of the balls exited through the front race taking the retainer out with it.
When you put the new one on it should be tightened to 40 Ft. Lbs. and then staked in place. A drop or two of Loctite Red also helps keeping it where it belongs.
Hope this helps...